Play Proud

Providing safe spaces for LGBTQ+ communities

Providing safe spaces for LGBTQ+ communities

Globally, LGBTQ+ people face discrimination both on and off the field of play. LGBTQ+ discrimination comes in many forms - ran­ging from laws that criminalise LGBTQ+ identities to familial and social rejection.

In a worldwide survey conducted by the Human Rights Campaign, 42% of all LGBTQ+ adolescent respondents felt that their community didn‘t accept them.

Due to a lack of mentorship and inclusivi­ty in society and sport, LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, etc.) youth are growing up with a higher chance of experiencing assault, societal stigma, victimisation, and rejection. With­in the Football for Good sector, coaches have stated that they struggle to make their programmes more welcoming and inclusive for the LGBTQ+ community. Every day, these coaches offer vulnerable children and adolescents a safe place on the football pitch.

However, organisations reported that their coaches would benefit immensely from a targeted programme that address­es topics surrounding the nuances and complexities of gender and sexuality.

Play Proud is a coach-centred, human rights-based approach that looks to make sports programmes more inclusive for the LGBTQ+ community.

The programme recognises that coaches can provide LGBTQ+ youth with crucial mentorship during adolescence and therefore works primarily with coaches as its target group. Play Proud seeks to equip coaches with the skills and knowledge to become mentors that will create safe and inclusive spaces for members of the LGBTQ+ community.

The Play Proud pilot was implemented across the North America and Caribbean region in 2019, training 23 coaches from 6 countries. In 2020, Play Proud began ex­panding globally training an additional 20 coaches from 7 countries across Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.

Due to Covid-19, the project pivoted online while successfully staying committed to the original project outcomes. Play Proud participants were engaged through a model of asynchronous and synchronous learning; asynchronous learning took place through the learning management system, Thinkific, while synchronous learning was delivered through live “huddles” on Zoom.

The Goal

That grassroots football organisations, programmes, and communities around the world are inclusive for LGBTQ+ communities.

The Strategy

Create methodology and train coaches and other sports professionals to address discrimination and create inclusive spaces for LGBTQ+ youth.

How it Works

Coaches and Mentors are trained in the Play Proud methodology to offer LGBTQ+ inclusive programming to young people from some of the most underserved communities in Europe, Africa and Asia.

Challenge

There are a lack of inclusive and safe spaces for young people to participate in football, which leads to...
Reduced Participation
Reduced participation in sports of young people from LGBTQ+ community.
Feelings of Alienation
LGBTQ+ young people are often alienated and rejected from sports with 4 out of 5 LGBTQ+ youth not out to their coaches.
Increased Vulnerability
LGBTQ+ youth that lack mentors have a greater chance of exposure to drugs and alcohol at a young age, lower academic performance, and suicide.

Solution

Deliver Play Proud methodology - giving participants the tools and knowledge to create safe spaces.
Training inclusive sports leaders
Coaches and participating staff in Play Proud become more competent as LGBTQ+ inclusion sport leaders.
Capacity building
Increased capacity of organisations to be more LGBTQ+ inclusive
Providing access to inclusive sports spaces
Increased access to safe and inclusive sports environments for LGBTQ+ identifying youth.

Impact

As a result of implementation the outcomes of Play Proud are:
Short Term: Coaches become inclusion advocates
Coaches use the skills and knowledge they learnt to make their programmes more inclusive.
Mid Term: Organisations become more inclusive
Participants use their newly gained skills to make organisations more intentional about inclusivity.
Long Term: Grassroots football becomes safe and inclusive for all
Youth from all backgrounds, especially those identifying as LGBTQ+, benefit from inclusive sport for development programmes.
Challenge
There are a lack of inclusive and safe spaces for young people to participate in football, which leads to...
Reduced Participation
Reduced participation in sports of young people from LGBTQ+ community.
Feelings of Alienation
LGBTQ+ young people are often alienated and rejected from sports with 4 out of 5 LGBTQ+ youth not out to their coaches.
Increased Vulnerability
LGBTQ+ youth that lack mentors have a greater chance of exposure to drugs and alcohol at a young age, lower academic performance, and suicide.
Solution
Deliver Play Proud methodology - giving participants the tools and knowledge to create safe spaces.
Training inclusive sports leaders
Coaches and participating staff in Play Proud become more competent as LGBTQ+ inclusion sport leaders.
Capacity building
Increased capacity of organisations to be more LGBTQ+ inclusive
Providing access to inclusive sports spaces
Increased access to safe and inclusive sports environments for LGBTQ+ identifying youth.
Impact
As a result of implementation the outcomes of Play Proud are:
Short Term: Coaches become inclusion advocates
Coaches use the skills and knowledge they learnt to make their programmes more inclusive.
Mid Term: Organisations become more inclusive
Participants use their newly gained skills to make organisations more intentional about inclusivity.
Long Term: Grassroots football becomes safe and inclusive for all
Youth from all backgrounds, especially those identifying as LGBTQ+, benefit from inclusive sport for development programmes.

Impact in the Field

Play Proud kicked off in January 2019 with the participation of 12 Football for Good organisations in North America. In 2020/2021 the project expanded to 7 countries. Due to restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic, both in-person residencies were cancelled and the programme moved online. 

22
organisations
47
coaches
14
countries
200+
hours of inclusive training
200K
invested in 2020

The budget for 2020 implementation was $271,921. 

Toolkits

2

Toolkits developed and implemented.

1

Online platform developed and implemented.

Participants

87%

of participants say that they now have the skills to deliver inclusive programmes or trainings.

93%

of participants say that they are more confident to bring change in their organisation or community.

Organisation

100%

of participants say they are more knowledgeable about problems LGBTQ+ community face in and away from sport.

100%

of organisations from 2020 implemented inclusivity projects.

Toolkits
2

Toolkits developed and implemented.

1

Online platform developed and implemented.

Participants
87%

of participants say that they now have the skills to deliver inclusive programmes or trainings.

93%

of participants say that they are more confident to bring change in their organisation or community.

Organisation
100%

of participants say they are more knowledgeable about problems LGBTQ+ community face in and away from sport.

100%

of organisations from 2020 implemented inclusivity projects.

400k
people impacted

406,950 youth indirectly impacted by Play Proud programming.

"Even small things like using inclusive words can contribute to a more inviting and inclusive environment."
Play Proud Coach
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